A global estimate of benefits from ecosystem-based marine recreation: potential impacts and implications for management


Participation in ecosystem-based marine recreational activities (MRAs) has increased around the world, adding a new dimension to human use of the marine ecosystem and another good reason to strengthen effective management measures. A first step in studying the effects of MRAs at a global scale is to estimate their socioeconomic benefits, which are captured here by three indicators: the amount of participation, employment and direct expenditure by users. A database of reported expenditure on MRAs was compiled for 144 coastal countries. A meta-analysis was then performed to calculate the yearly global benefits of MRAs in terms of expenditure, participation and employment. It is estimated that 121 million people a year participate in MRAs, generating 47 billion USD (2003) in expenditures and supporting one million jobs. The results of this study have several implications for resource managers and for the tourism industry. Aside from offering the first estimation of the global socioeconomic benefits of MRAs, this work provides insights on the drivers of participation and possible ecological impacts of these activities. Our results could also help direct efforts to promote adequate implementation of MRAs. Furthermore, we hope this work will provide a template for data collection on MRAs worldwide.

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Correspondence to Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor.

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Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Sumaila, U.R. A global estimate of benefits from ecosystem-based marine recreation: potential impacts and implications for management. J Bioecon 12, 245–268 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10818-010-9092-7

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  • Marine recreation
  • Socioeconomic benefits
  • Meta-analysis
  • Benefit transfer

JEL Classification

  • Q22
  • Q28